Glass skin? Wet skin? Dewy skin? If you said "YES", then this post is for you baby.
About the Product
Back in March, NARS have released a brand new collection of Highlighting Powders available in six shades, all inspired by exotic locations and "sun drenched islands". Naturally, as your trusted magpie, I felt the urge to investigate and in today's post we are going to look at the most talked about shade in the range: Fort De France.
Claims: "No Glitter. Just Glow"
Price: 38 USD (for 13.9 g/ 0.49 oz). Made in Italy
Packaging: as you might be able to tell, NARS have revamped their packaging this year. Although the compact still has that same [signature] soft-touch/rubberized feel, the new sharp rectangular shape makes it a touch more modern and hip (plus you get a much larger, better quality mirror). Yes, the closure is not magnetic (as some might think; i.e. moi) and the compact will get all fingerprint-y over time, but at this point we all know that that is a part of NARS experience and I have no problems with that.
Colours: you get a lovely selection of shades: from pale gold all the way to warm bronze. There are a two pinkish/rosy tones here too, which is good news for people who love that feminine, grown-up glow. Fort De France is a bestseller for a reason; it is the most perfect and universally flattering neutral shade of champagne, that will look amazing on a plethora of skin tones. Colour-wise it does remind me a bit of the iconic Champagne Pop, however! There is a massive difference between two formulas, which I will get to in a second.
As per this site's tradition, all of my swatches are raw and unedited (so that you have a better idea of what everything looks like in real life). Please click on images to zoom in.
Formula: now, this is the most intriguing part. They said "no glitter, just glow", right? Well, that's actually true. While the colour is very similar to Becca here, the product itself is noticeably different. NARS Highlighting Powder is ultra-smooth, even velvety to the touch; it is tightly pressed, which in return gives you an ability to gradually custom build a desired coverage from sheer to bold versus a highlighter that gives you an intense glow-payoff from the get-go, because it is softly pressed. That being said, it is not powdery whatsoever and has zero kickback.
Application: depending on your mood, you can wear it as a subtle wash of colour or add an extra layer (or two) to take it to a whole new level. Speaking of which, NARS have mentioned on sephora.com that you can even use it with a wet [flat] brush to achieve an ultimate glow (something I never do, because most of my highlighters are softly pressed and any extra bit of water/Fix Plus might ruin them). For the sake of this review being as detailed as possible, I have [indeed] sprayed my synthetic Real Techniques Bold Metals 300 Brush (review here) with some Fix Plus and results were heavenly: glass skin on steroids, yet in the most natural way possible. From my experience, synthetic brushes by Real Techniques work best with this formula (if you choose "wet" application technique), but if you want a very subtle wash of highlight - go for a natural brush instead.
Finish: unlike most powder highlighters in my possession, NARS Highlighting Powder is probably the only one that gives me a wet skin look. It is also the most natural-yet-glowy product I own. Not as striking as say my MAC or Becca, but still very flattering. Skin looks smooth, healthy, radiant, dewy and texture/pores are not accentuated. As I have said before, it does not look powdery in the slightest; instead it almost melts into the skin with every brush stroke. If you choose to wear it sheer, it will give you a light wash of radiance appropriate for the daytime wear; if you want some drama - apply it with a wet brush and it will look fabulous too. It is all about your application technique.
Wear: again, depending on how you choose to apply it, it will last up to 7-10 hours. I am pleased with just how long-wearing this powder is.
To create my NARS look here I have used the brand's Natural Radiance Longwear Foundation (review here) in the shade Deauville. I then added Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Cannelle. It is quite peachy, which further helps to counteract dark undereye circles.
To warm up my skin, I applied the brand's Laguna Bronzing Powder (I went through an entire compact once before, highly recommend it) and added a glowy pop of colour to my cheeks with the iconic Orgasm Blush (I really enjoy the new reformulated version; it is quite smooth and not as chunky/glittery). Finally, a few [dry] layers of Fort De France on my cheekbones; plus a bit of highlight on my inner corners, brow bone, bridge of the nose, tip of the nose, cupid's bow and a tiny bit on my chin for that all over glow.
Finally, to complete the look, I have used my number one nude from NARS: Audacious Lipstick in the shade Raquel. If you are into beige-pinks, it will be your best friend. Formula is both hydrating and long-lasting. And, huge fan of Raquel Welch here, so couldn't ask for more.
If you are on a hunt for a sophisticated, customizable glow - look no further. I think NARS Highlighting Powder is absolutely gorgeous and will be flattering on beauties of all ages and colours. If you are into "blinding" ultra metallic highlighters (think ABH, Cover FX, OFRA etc.), then you will not like this one. If you want something more couture-esque in feel, you will truly appreciate this new formula. Plus a bit of Fix Plus can easily take yours to a whole new level, which is a fabulous thing in my book. Wear it sheer or build it up, it will look equally gorgeous. I can easily picture a stylish Parisian girl wear nothing but a good red lip like Dragon Girl, Fort De France on her cheeks and eyes, maybe some Radiant Creamy Concealer for that undone, effortless French makeup look. And that is something I absolutely love about NARS: it is always powerful, yet chic. Conclusion: A+ from moi.
Purchased product; full disclaimer here